It is no longer in the realm of speculation that a former governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, is already warming up to pick the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the coming governorship race in the state. All the while, three aspirants of the party have been in the frontline.
They are: Senator Iyiola Omisore, a former Deputy Governor of the state, Senator Olasunkanmi Akinlabi, a former Minister of Youths Development and Hon Oluwole Oke, former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Defence. Ahead of the primary scheduled for April 4, they had all obtained the party’s intention form sold for N5 million by the state secretariat of the party.
But less than two weeks to the D-Day, Adeleke has also openly signified his intention to contest the August 9 governorship election in Osun State on the platform of the PDP. Since his exit from the Senate in 2011, Adeleke has been lying low politically focusing on his personal business.
Not unexpectedly, therefore, rumours are rife that his ambition to suddenly join the race might not be unconnected with the alleged game plan by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to checkmate Iyiola Omisore, who is seen to be the leading contender to the exalted seat.
This development, Sunday Sun gathered, might have already upset the move by the PDP to choose its flag bearer without much acrimony, as the strategy to achieve a rancour-free primary has assumed another dimension with the sudden entry of the former governor into the race. According to a source who spoke with Sunday Sun, the plot is in collaboration with some chieftains of the PDP to create internal dissensions and sabotage its strategy to wrest power from the APC.
Already, it appears that the permutation is working according to the plan. On one hand, there are those who are aggrieved with Adeleke’s passive participation in the affairs of the party since 2011 when he abandoned the party for his private ventures.
Sunday Sun gathered that a series of meetings had been held in Lagos between the leading figures in APC and former governor Adeleke to actualize the game plan. The alleged parley, according to a reliable source, dates back to September 2013. In the alleged plot, Governor Rauf Aregbesola was said to have approached Adeleke with several offers, including a senatorial ticket, if he could join the race to stop Omisore from securing the governorship ticket.
The governor was alleged to have promised to give logistic support for the project. This includes convincing the incumbent, Senator Mudashir Hussein to step down for Adeleke to pick the ticket to the Senate after Omisore might have been frustrated out of the race.
In the bid to create further confusion in the PDP, the former governor was allegedly mandated to connive with some chieftains of the party, especially a federal board chairman who is said to be aggrieved over ministerial nomination.
Sunday Sun findings further revealed that the Lagos meetings had put a timeline for the implementation of the plot which must not exceed March. If eventually actualized, the plot will not only create confusion within the PDP, it will also stop President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambition to win Southwest in the next election. Beyond that, it will also stop Omisore, the strongest of the aspirants, from running against Aregbesola.
In doing all this, a reliable source told Sunday Sun, APC was merely trying to cash in on the perceived disaffection arising from lopsided federal appointments within the rank of the PDP. In particular, the former governor was said to be angry with the president over board appointments.
As such, Adeleke is said to be working in concert with some PDP chieftains who claimed to have been sidelined in the appointments and have been flirting with the APC. One of these is a federal board chairman who is nursing his own grouse about his failed ministerial bid. Efforts to reach former Governor Adeleke failed as his numbers were not going through. One of his aides who craved anonymity, however, confirmed the ambition of his boss to pick the ticket of the PDP for the governorship race, adding that the former governor had apologised to the party leadership for being away for the past three years. In addition, he said Adeleke had promised to make up by paying all necessary bills as maybe prescribed by the party.
“My boss has apologised. All I know is that he is running for the governorship,” the aide said. Adeleke who joined the race late said he had consulted those that matter in the party both within and outside the state before he took his decision. Although picking the intention form of the party had closed since December 31, 2013, Adeleke insisted that he would continue with his ambition to contest the election.
Adeleke, a native of Ede in the West Senatorial District, ruled the state between 1992 and 1994. He was elected into the Senate in 2007 and served as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Supporters of the former governor claimed that Adeleke had gained the backing of some top political leaders in the country to pursue his ambition to rule the state again. It is also being rumoured that some individuals in the Presidency were working round the clock to ensure his emergence as PDP’s flag bearer for the gubernatorial poll.
Already, tension is building up in the state ahead of the governorship poll. Two strong loyalists of Omisore were killed during the recent voters’ registration exercise, while Ile-Ife allegedly came under siege throughout the period.
However, one of the aides of Governor Aregbesola who pleaded anonymity dismissed the allegation of APC’s involvement in the internal affairs of the PDP as unfounded. He said PDP should stop chasing shadows and leave his boss out of its affairs. “What is the connection between PDP’s primary and Aregbesola? If they have internal problem, they should find a way of resolving it instead of looking for a scapegoat. My boss is too busy with governance than to be dragged into an issue that does not concern him,” he said.